Today’s energy world requires dynamic, innovative thinking and the flexibility to rapidly accommodate changing market demands. The solar photovoltaics (PV) industry has advanced significantly in recent years, yet the PV world of tomorrow has only been imagined. Sandia National Laboratories contributes to the advancement of PV technology through research in advanced PV technologies, such as III-V thin cells, and advanced small and thin c-Si. The lab also offers extensive experience and expertise in systems integration, micro-fabrication, MEMS and microsystem technologies, semiconductor device technology, and advanced PV systems analysis.
The Grid Integration Program at Sandia National Laboratories addresses technical barriers to large-scale deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) generation in grid-tied power systems. Sandia’s Grid Integration research focuses on three primary tasks related to high-penetration PV:
- Expanding and disseminating technical knowledge and understanding related to grid performance, reliability, forecasting, and costs of integration
- Developing integrated solutions to optimize the balance between energy generation, storage, and consumption through new technologies and advanced controls, at local and regional levels
- Performance standards and codes
The Photovoltaic (PV) Modeling and Analysis team addresses technical challenges to simulating the performance of PV systems in the field exposed to different weather and environmental conditions. Sandia organizes its efforts in three primary thrusts:
- Industry Outreach and Technical Leadership
- Model Algorithm Development
- Model Validation
The solar photovoltaics (PV) Test & Evaluation (T&E) program at Sandia National Laboratories is a critical part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Program (SETP) technology pipeline. The lab supports SETP’s goals by defining and applying procedures for evaluating performance, supporting development of new and improvement of existing technologies, and providing skilled testing and evaluation of all PV components, including cells, modules, inverters, and Balance-of-Systems (BOS). Sandia also conducts full system testing, through which the interactions and reliability of total PV systems can be evaluated, and contributes to the development of critical national and international PV codes and standards. The goals of Sandia’s T&E program include improved PV system performance, reduced levelized cost of energy (LCOE), and an enhanced market for PV te
Sandia recognizes that even the best components and materials need to work in concert with other elements to ensure the quality and reliability of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. The PV Systems Reliability program at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) evaluates the reliability of PV systems as a function of design, installation, components, and the application. The focus in the lab’s reliability testing is on how it improves the design and composition of total PV systems. Each component is evaluated with respect to how it performs and interacts within a given system, not just how it functions independently. In order to be classified as reliable, elements must meet intended performance metrics, under specific environmental conditions, at a given point in time.
Sandia’s Market Transformation efforts exist at the intersection of technology, economics, and policy & regulations. We address market barriers and transactional costs of solar projects across the United States. This large market is actually a patchwork of solar markets on a state-by-state level. Despite excellent solar resources throughout much of the country, many states lack a cohesive framework that can support a strong solar market. Sandia’s Market Transformation activities address policy and regulatory barriers, utility business and operational challenges, and a range of business models and financing approaches.